Wizz Air is planning to expand in London ‘no matter what happens to Brexit’
Low cost flyer Wizz Air is planning to spread its wings in its key London market, “no matter what happens … to Brexit,” its chief executive said today.
Jozsef Varadi, who co-founded the Hungarian carrier, said this morning he “absolutely” plans to expand in the capital, despite missing out on Thomas Cook’s take-off and landing slots at Gatwick in the wake of its collapse.
The firm announced profits rose more than a quarter in the first half of its financial year, with more passengers than ever before travelling on its flights.
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Net profit was €371.5m for the six months to 30 September, a 26.2 per cent year-on-year rise.
Revenue rose 21.7 per cent to €1.67bn.
Wizz Air carried 22.1m passengers in the first half, up 17.9 per cent.
Load factor – a measure of how full its planes were – was up one percentage point to 94.6 per cent.
Total cash at the end of September was €1.82bn, of which €1.63bn was free cash.
Why it’s interesting
Varadi told Bloomberg this morning the figures represented “a pretty upbeat performance”.
He said he expects profit growth to accelerate by more than 20 per cent during the winter after the strong performance.
This was despite “genuine macro-economic challenges” facing the European low-cost aviation sector. Despite the strong performance, the statement was enough to push shares down two per cent this morning.
Varadi said Wizz Air’s operating costs had stayed flat while other low cost airlines had seen them increase.
This would be helped further by moving to a larger Airbus A321 Neo aircraft, which carries 239 people, rather than the low-cost industry standard of roughly 160 people on a flight.
What Wizz Air said
Varadi added that he remained “bullish” about the London market.
“London is the single biggest travel market in the world, and I don’t think this is going to change any time soon, no matter what happens to the country, what happens throughout Brexit.
“We are very keen on positioning ourselves strategically to the London market.”